Every Sunday during the offseason I plan on recapping for you seven items related to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the NFL that may have fallen through the cracks the past week that should be worth your time to read. This weekly feature will be entitled “Steelers’ Seven Shots.”
Shot #1 – Eight years ago today the Steelers released guard Kendall Simmons, who they had originally drafted in the first-round of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Auburn. Simmons had suffered a season-ending injury to his Achilles tendon during a Monday Night Football contest against the Baltimore Ravens in 2008 and was subsequently placed on the team’s Reserve/Injured list. While Simmons would go on to sign a three-year contract with the New England Patriots in September of 2009, they ultimately released him the following November. From there he was signed by the Buffalo Bills but a shoulder injury ended what would be his final season in the NFL. In case you forgot, Simmons battled Type 1 diabetes during his career and is now a spokesman for the disease. David Templeton recently wrote about Simmons in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Shot #2 – The New York Jets released veteran center Nick Mangold on Saturday and that move will likely result in Wesley Johnson taking over as the starter at the position in 2017. Johnson, if you remember, was originally drafted by the Steelers in the fifth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Vanderbilt. After making the Steelers initial 53-man roster that year, Johnson was waived several weeks into the season and the Jets claimed him. The Jets eventually waived Johnson ahead of the 2015 regular season and signed him to their practice squad before ultimately promoting him back to their 53-man roster that October. As a footnote, it will now be interesting to see where Mangold lands in the coming weeks.
We have released C Nick Mangold.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) February 25, 2017
Shot #3 – With the annual scouting combine set to get underway next week, NFL.com has a short piece on the origins of the event that a few of you might find interesting. Additionally, former NFL general manager Charley Casserly went over what a combine interview looks like in an interview this past week on the NFL Network.
Shot #4 – Eliot Crist of Pro Football Focus recently wrote about coverage types a cornerback is faced with in addition to which corners had the most success versus different passing routes in the 2016 season.
Shot #5 – The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night in a Stadium Series game that was played at Heinz Field and if you watched the broadcast you probably heard Doc Emrick tell the story about how the late Art Rooney played a role in Pittsburgh receiving an expansion franchise in 1966. Pittsburghhockey.net has a great article on how that all transpired and if that’s not enough for you, here is the 1966 article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting the awarding of the franchise to the city of Pittsburgh.
Shot #6 – Speaking of the Penguins-Flyers game, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was on the ice Saturday night to introduce the home team to crowd at Heinz Field.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 26, 2017
Shot #7 – Fellow Steelers wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey turns 30 on this Sunday and to celebrate it he posted a picture from his childhood on Twitter.
— Darrius Heyward-Bey (@theDHB85) February 26, 2017